Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A New Heart

I went to see my friend Morley yesterday.

Visitors have to put on a gown and gloves right now as he is recovering from one of those infamous hospital superbugs; and as luck would have it, just as I was gowning up, the aide came by with his dinner. "Would you give this to Mr. Morley?" she asked. "Then I wouldn't have to put on the gown and gloves ..."

You can imagine my delight! The poor little aide wondered why I burst out laughing. I was able to walk in with his tray and say, "Morley, do what you like; you can't get away from my being your waitress ..."

The doctors and surgeons have done a marvellous job. There he sat, resplendent with new glasses he had received on Friday; a crisp new haircut; and a familiar face meticulously recreated, the work of a master's hands.

His wonderful brother-in-law, Donna's brother Darryl, was there when I arrived and in the few minutes remaining of his visit the three of us chatted easily and joyfully.

Then when he left, Morley and I settled in for one of our Catching Up conversations.

He showed me his left arm, the forearm of which has a long seam evenly stitched. "My arm was broken," he explained.

He briefly ran down the list of his injuries, noting that there was no brain damage, no spinal cord damage. "It was miraculous," he said quietly. He has to speak quietly right now as his throat heals.

But what he mainly wanted to talk about was two people: Donna, and God.

"Sometimes I look into those beautiful, serene eyes and I think, 'What did I ever do to deserve a love like this?' " he marvelled. "The first time I met her, I was immediately drawn to her. And she's still here. I can't comprehend a love like hers."

And this:

"I'm stubborn, closed, ungrateful. God had to do something drastic to get my attention. He had to bring me to the end of myself." And with that he never mentioned his prodigious injuries again; instead he focused on the goodness and grace of God.

Morley is grateful for everything - that he can taste the cup of vanilla ice cream on his tray, that he can sip the vegetable broth, that he could have his feet over the side of the bed for a short period for the first time. "I had my first shower on Saturday," he said, a little smile hovering at the corners of his mouth. "That shower was so sweet ..."

He knows the road ahead is going to be difficult - he is going to be moved to a rehab hospital within the next few days. There will be days fraught with pain, and much relearning to do, times when he might want to give up. "But God didn't give up on me, so I won't give up," he avowed. "Besides which, it's external. No organs were touched."

"I think you're wrong, Morley, I said. "You're heart's been touched by this accident."

His eyes lit up and he put his right hand over his heart. "Actually, you're right. I have a new heart in me. And God has put it there."

It was time for me to leave; but first I asked him if I could do an update on his story for RtL and maybe take his picture. "Oh yes," he said. "Just be sure to tell them that God is good."

We prayed together, his cold hand clasping my latex-covered one. And the room was holy ground.

As I left I dropped a kiss on his forehead - a "blessing kiss," my Nana O'Halloran used to say. 

I'm not sure if his new forehead could feel it, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that his new heart did.


  1. Wonderful news! Christmas miracles do happen, some deeper than the eye can see! This heart miracle won't stop, and Morley will be renewed - from glory to glory! Will pray for him and Donna through these weeks of recovery.... Before you know it you'll be serving him carrot cake again! Thank you for sharing, Karyn, at the end of a long day!

  2. *beautiful* - such a beautiful update showcasing our God Who restores what has been broken.

    i'll continue to pray for morley and his donna with the serene eyes.

    so much love.

  3. Great update! Thanks! The ministering waitress is always on call!!

  4. Tnanks for posting that, Karyn. I get my updates from Darrel but I haven't seen him for over a week. So good to hear.

  5. Wow, I have to say, the doctor did an amazing job on Morleys face! Thanks for sharing this, Karyn - all of it beautifully said, as usual.
    We will keep Morley in our prayers.

  6. Thank you for the photo of our friend. There are so many lifting him up in prayer. God is good-all the time.

  7. Karyn - thank you so much for posting about my uncle. Yes, Morley is my beloved, cherished uncle and as you can imagine, he is my most favourite relative (aside from mom and dad of course). When this all happened - the "terrible awful" - we were unsure of ourselves as people, as family, as relatives. When the time came, all we had left to do was cry. But I sort of reflected on our tears and I thought "you know, we're not crying because we're weak... we've been strong for too long" and Uncle Morley gave us a reason to come together over our tears and love each other. As the days goes by and as Uncle Morley gets better and better, we no longer cry but laugh. And if there are tears, it's tears of gratitude, happiness, and understanding. They are tears of love. Now us Ramsay's say "I love you" more times than is necessary but then again, us Ramsay's have always been an odd bunch - we always tell Auntie Donna not to go out and ruin the family name (I don't know what she did to deserve us). As Uncle Morley goes through this transition, I am more and more aware of the growing community that he has to support him. The day I arrived at the hospital, the day of the accident, I wasn't greeted with handshakes but rather hugs and the words "I'm here for you"... people I had never met before! I couldn't believe it. I had never felt such care, worry, love in all the hugs I received. Uncle Morley's support doesn't just stop at his family but extends much farther than that. We're appreciative of it and so is he. And I can tell that it has filled him up, even on the days that are tough. So thank you to everyone in Three Hills for caring so deeply about my uncle (for an anti-social kind of guy, he sure has a lot of friends!) and about our family. You have big hearts - thanks for making room for us all.
    With much love,
    Meredith Ramsay (the niece - I'm sure you've heard of me as everyone has seemed to... I'm not trying to sound arrogant but I'm finding many people in Uncle Morley's life know me but I haven't met them... it's as close as I can get to being a celebrity ;) )

    1. Meredith, I am so happy to have heard from you! It is just amazing that the "terrible awful" can turn out to be so affirming, so life giving, so love-inspiring, when left in God's hands ... No one would wish this on Morley - ever - but to hear him THANK God for the accident; and to hear how it has brought you Ramsay clan close together; and to read the truth you've discovered, that "We're not crying because we're weak ... we've been strong for too long" - just the sheer relief of knowing that we (all of us!) don't have to be the strong ones all the time, but sometimes we can sit back and let the tears flow and let the goodness of God and the strength of others, even strangers, bolster us up. It's a time of miracles and yes of love. I do have to disagree with you on one thing, though: I don't believe people can say I love you more times than is necessary. Love is what is pulling your cherished Uncle Morley, and your entire family, through this extremely difficult, extremely painful time. And so blurt it out as often as you feel so inclined! I love you just for the tenderness and the love for your family and Morley and Donna that I can read in every word you have written!

      Tomorrow I get to make Valentine's dinner for the two of them and, if all goes according to plan, Donna is going to pick it up and they are going to share a little celebration. Even if the chicken is dry and the soup is cold, and the dessert gets squished, I bet it'll be one of the best Valentine's Days they've ever celebrated because they're together and their family is more united than ever and there are people holding you all up each day with our prayers.

      With much love to all of you (there's that word again!) xoxo


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